MUA rally in solidarity with Indonesian port workers

MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer addresses the rally.

About 100 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions rallied outside the Indonesian consulate in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra on November 16 in support of 1000 Indonesian truck drivers and port workers who have been on indefinite strike since November 1.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of these workers have been employed by the state-owned fuel refining and distribution company Pertamina Patra Niaga (PPN) for more than 10 years, they continue to suffer poor and unsafe conditions, are denied job security through casualisation and short-term contracts, and are forced to work 12-hour days with no overtime.

Worse still, they have experienced a number of work-related deaths.

MUA assistant Sydney branch secretary Joe Deakin told the crowd: "We are here in support of these members of the Port and Transport Union of Indonesia. The MUA demands these workers be treated fairly."

MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer said: "We will step up our solidarity with these workers until this dispute is resolved. Union delegates and activists have been sacked in Indonesia.

"The workers face some of the poorest conditions in the world, including murder on the job. The Indonesian government is supported in these crimes by the Australian government and the governments of other first world countries.

"And Australian union representatives have been detained and deported from Indonesia for showing basic solidarity with their colleagues."

Other speakers included Mary Yaager from UnionsNSW and Laura Lyons from Grandmothers Against Removals. A consulate staff member finally accepted letters from the unions supporting the Indonesian workers.

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